Questions tagged [deletion]

Secure deletion of data.

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91
votes
4answers
59k views

Why is writing zeros (or random data) over a hard drive multiple times better than just doing it once?

Lots of different programs, such as Darik's Boot and Nuke, let you write over a hard drive multiple times under the guise of it being more secure than just doing it once. Why?
88
votes
1answer
16k views

Wiping an SSD with Parted Magic seemed too quick

I'm selling a computer with an SSD (it's a Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1). I wiped the drive using Parted Magic. I used the ATA method. I'm not sure what that is but it was the only setting available. It ...
88
votes
7answers
31k views

How can I reliably erase all information on a hard drive?

As storage technologies change over time, using different encodings and remappings to deal with sector errors, the best way to permanently erase/wipe/shred data changes also. Methods for flash drives ...
87
votes
11answers
20k views

Why didn't OSes securely delete files right from the beginning? And why do they still not do this?

After decades of hearing that "delete" does not really make the data impossible to recover, I have to ask WHY the OS was not corrected long ago to do what it should have been doing all along? What is ...
66
votes
3answers
31k views

Is it enough to only wipe a flash drive once?

According to the documentation for the "diskscrb" command for wiping conventional hard drives: http://www.forensics-intl.com/diskscrb.html "Conforms to and exceeds the Government Standard set forth ...
55
votes
6answers
132k views

Can wiped SSD data be recovered?

I was reading another post on destroying IDE drives, and how you could remove data, wipe it, or just destroy the drive. The removed data would still be there in some state, although not easily ...
31
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5answers
5k views

How to safely wipe a USB flash drive [duplicate]

I want to wipe all residual data left behind even after a format on a regular 64GB fash drive, the ones someone can scan and recover data. What's the most efficient but quickest way to do this? Any ...
29
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2answers
47k views

What is the difference between ATA Secure Erase and Security Erase? How can I ensure they worked?

I'd like to wipe a stack of drives (spinning and SSD) securely. I'm familiar with the ATA Secure Erase (SE) command via hdparm, but I'm not sure if I should use the Security Erase (SE+) command ...
27
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4answers
5k views

Does the destruction of sensitive information limit the choice of hard drives to non-flash based devices?

Working with a non-profit organization,it's common to reuse hard drives that have previously stored highly sensitive information such as medical and financial records. This is primarily driven by cost-...
25
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4answers
3k views

Is a file shredder/secure erase necessary when you have full disk encryption turned on?

The password manager that I use has instructions to migrate to a new file format: Export existing passwords to a temporary text file Change password manager to new format Import passwords from ...
23
votes
3answers
7k views

To what extent does formatting a disk (securely) remove its data?

If the goal is to make data no longer retrievable, how secure is it to format the disk? I assumed formatting the disk overwrites free space (thus making it a safe bet no one's going to be able to ...
21
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1answer
2k views

I forgot to shred a file before deleting it (on Windows). How do I shred that part of file system now where the file was located?

My company has a policy that files have to be shredded after they've been read. They provide with a tool shred.exe that I run on the file and it overwrites it with garbage in the file system before ...
20
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4answers
5k views

Why is writing zeros (or random data) over a hard drive used when writing all ones is more beneficial? [duplicate]

As far as I know, in order to securely delete the hard drive's contents, one should fill it with zeroes or, for added security and harder recoverability, random data first and then all zeroes. In ...
19
votes
11answers
29k views

I'm leaving my job and want to erase as many personal details etc. as possible; any tips?

Obviously this is very open-ended. But, I'm just paranoid about people going through everything on my laptop after I leave my job. Here are the things I'm planning to do: Completely wipe all browser ...
19
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1answer
2k views

Privacy data concern: Facebook account appearing with a search for phone number, despite it never being added - what should I do? [closed]

Something that's concerned me recently is "doxing" or the searching for and posting of personal information. Recently I carried out essentially an audit of my personal security online and discovered a ...
19
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7answers
38k views

How do I securely erase USB flash drives?

I would like to know if there is a way to securely erase USB flash drives without a chance to recover data from it once it has been erased. I know, that programms like DBAN can be used to securely ...
17
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2answers
3k views

Secure wiping of EEPROM and flash memory

Older magnetic storage exhibited some data remanence, so a recommendation emerged to wipe data by overwriting it multiple times with varying patterns — the “Gutmann wipe”. More recent hard disk ...
15
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3answers
4k views

Is there a real-world example of SSD data recovery?

Secure data deletion is known to be more complicated and elusive on a solid-state drive than for a regular hard drive. For instance, the logical block mapping on the SSD's flash translation layer ...
13
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4answers
5k views

How completely wipe information of overwritten files and folder?

I have only a basic understanding of how files are written in a hard disk. Here I assume the files are overwritten this way. File A is deleted Its address is removed and showed vacant New File B is ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

Why are drives overwritten three times when being disposed of? [duplicate]

I am looking at the secure disposal of old flash drives, and one of the standards I have come across says that they should be overwritten three times. Why is one time not enough? I assume doing the ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Ensure data doesn't linger after being deleted

I'm trying to make a service that keeps as little data on its users as possible. To that end, I want to make sure that someone using forensic tools won't gain any more information than I would by ...
11
votes
1answer
527 views

If I sell my printer, can the last printed pages be recovered? And how can I wipe it?

I have a Brother 5470-DW Printer. I want to sell it but wanted to make sure all the last prints can't be recovered. If I sold my printer could the last pages printed be recovered? How can I wipe all ...
11
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2answers
2k views

“Encrypt and wipe” procedure on Android Lollipop?

I know a lot of people are advocating an "encrypt and wipe" procedure for selling used Android phones. But according to the AOSP website, in Android 5.x Lollipop: Created fast encryption, which ...
10
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5answers
2k views

Encrypting a disk that has stuff on it?

Ok, so a pretty big disk ~1-2TB (90% full, multiple partitions + 2 operating systems on it), needs to be encrypted and zeroed-out, and it's a bit too much data for backing it all up before encryption. ...
10
votes
1answer
5k views

How to properly delete all data from cell phones?

Lately I've been thinking to get rid of some old smartphones; among them an Android device and a Blackberry. Not selling or recycling them is the ideal solution, however, I still would like to know ...
10
votes
1answer
596 views

GDPR Deletion Request Tracking Paradox - Suppression Lists

I work at a large-ish tech company with hundreds of websites and some large web applications with a very large number of users. I am planning to propose that we have a central system to track ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How to erase as much as possible an SSD without ATA Secure Erase?

The question is almost completely answered. However, more details are still needed. See Update 2 down here. I've learnt that the ATA Secure Erase is uncorrectly implemented in SSDs (sources are down ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Magnet to wipe HDD [duplicate]

This question is for HDD, not SDD. Would a Neodymium magnet like this one be strong enough to wipe the contents of a hard disk drive? How long would such an act take to destroy any data so it's not ...
9
votes
1answer
627 views

Should a secure ATA erase be performed on a non-SSD drive?

When running the command hdparm -I /dev/sda the following output is generated. ATA device, with non-removable media Model Number: WDC WD10JPVX-75JC3T0 Serial ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Will completely wiping your hard drive remove all malware? [duplicate]

I recently bought a new computer. Now I want to convert my old PC into a Linux system. However, I want to start completely fresh and not bring over any malware. I am already planning to wipe ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

How can files be deleted in a HIPAA-compliant way?

Any material I've come up with for data destruction standards relate to completely wiping (ATA Secure Erase) and physically destroying hard drives, but I haven't been able to find much about standards ...
8
votes
2answers
661 views

Are there any filesystems that have secure deletion as a feature?

There's many 3rd party tools people have designed to perform secure deletion, but I don't know of any filesystems where secure deletion is built in. In fact, secure deletion has to work around ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

Can someone tell if you delete deleted files?

I am aware that to delete something completely we will have to use a program that over-writes the deleted file such that it is unrecoverable. Is there anyway to tell that this has happened? Or is the ...
8
votes
1answer
675 views

Cases where DBAN has won

Are there any real life cases where software such as DBAN (to securely erase disks) has beaten government/law enforcement agencies? I found this online which lists each time encryption has beaten ...
7
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2answers
4k views

ATA security erase on SSD

Is it possible to recovery data from SSD, that was secure erased (https://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/ATA_Secure_Erase), by IT or professional data recovery company? Does this type of erasing reduce ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

How to avoid local caches when I open encrypted files

For personal usage I tend to keep things that I want to hide or protect in rar archives encrypted and protected with a password. Today I launched an antivirus scan, and as result it found malware in a ...
7
votes
1answer
6k views

How secure is the Windows 8 “Reset your PC” function?

Windows 8 has a feature to "Reset your PC" so that if someone needs to give their computer away, the recipient won't be able to recover data. How secure is it?
6
votes
8answers
563 views

A computing environment that saves no data

I want to use a laptop which doesn’t save any data, history, passwords anywhere in it. All state information should be destroyed once it is turned off or rebooted, without removing my ability to use ...
6
votes
8answers
13k views

Overwriting hard drive to securely delete a file?

I am working on a computer that I am not allowed to install new software on. It does not have secure delete software installed. Suppose I have a file (or files) that are sensitive that I'd like to ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

What's a good secure file deleter

I've used cipher \w which is built into Windows to overwrite free space but I'm looking for a tool that securely deletes files which have not been deleted yet. It would be a plus (but certainly not ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Securely decommissioning a dedicated server

One of my dedicated hosting CentOS servers hit 12 years. I received an end-of-life notice on it, and I started receiving SMART errors as well. I guess it's time to let it go. But before I do, I'd like ...
6
votes
3answers
281 views

Disk Erasing Security - Odd Number of Writes

As one can find in the Disk Utility/Erase/Security Options section, there are two options for erasing disks securely - zero out 7 times or zero out 35 times. Where these numbers come from?
6
votes
3answers
221 views

Live OS : secure file deletion

In the case of a Live OS (i.e Tails) where filesystems are kept in RAM, is there any difference in the way a file is deleted ? Specific case considered : files "1.jpg" and "2.jpg" in a running Live ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Are files deleted before encrypting then formatted able to be retrieved?

On a drive I have a folder of files, I then just soft delete these files (not wiping them or overwriting with any data). After I soft delete them I encrypt the drive and wipe it with a single quick ...
6
votes
1answer
489 views

Method for securely removing files from a solid state drive

I've thought of a method for securely erasing single files on a solid state drive. This method will work only if the drive is encrypted, and it will work even if someone cracks the encryption key for ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Is data-remanence a concern in RAM?

I know data-remanence is a concern on hard drives, but is it a concern on RAM? For example, once a program completes, is its data still available on RAM, just as data on a hard drive remains after ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it nescecary to wipe and reset the MBR when laptop changes owners even if full disk encryption is used?

Where I'm currently working we use full disk encryption and after a laptop transfer owners we use a secure erasure program. This is quite time consuming and I'm wondering is it necessary? For the disk ...
5
votes
2answers
19k views

Does microwaving a hard drive erase it?

Kind of a silly question, but I'm genuinely curious: (in part because I recently saw several questions that refer to "nuking" a hard drive...) what would a microwave DO to an HDD? Would it erase data ...
5
votes
2answers
194 views

How important is it to delete disk partitions when wiping devices?

The command lsblk returns the following output that lists 4 partitions. sda 8:0 0 931.5G 0 disk ├─sda1 8:1 0 8M 0 part ├─sda2 8:2 0 40G 0 part / ├─sda3 8:3 0 883.8G ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

Does Amazon S3 deletion “shred” your object

I believe Amazon states that all deletions of objects are irreversible. But for security reasons, how "shreded" is such deletion? For example, supposing a hack to Amazon S3, could anyone recover your ...